Review Summary: Mortiis' best work to date
I only cottoned onto this album a good 8 years after its release. The song "Parasite God" is one I heard at the time of release and while I enjoyed it, I was put off by his cheesy look. At the time I was only 13 and far more discriminatory in what I would listen to. Anyhow, the song has remained in my memory and was randomly stuck in my head one day so I Spotifyed the album. Having thoroughly enjoyed it I have since bought it and clued myself up on the remainder of the band's discography.
The Smell of Rain is the only release from Era II of the Mortiis discography and was the one that split fans right down the middle. Not quite as dark as its predecessors, it demonstrates more of an elctro feel to it. The change in style is to be welcomed as his earlier work has been done by bands of the same ilk, but to a higher standard.
Anyone expecting a black metal album is likely to be disappointed. This album is catchy and danceable; while atmospheric and dark at the same time. It is also the first Mortiis album to feature the man himself on vocals and I must say I am pleasantly surprised. The vocals are calm but at the same time passionate; adding to the gloomy atmosphere and making it a more enjoyable listen all round. His voice lacks range, which is not a problem as the synths cover it up. Mortiis is a man of mystery and intrigue and the vocals contribute well to this image. There is nothing original in the music but the production is fantastic and makes this album an even better listen.
Highlights of the album include the aforementioned "Parasite God" with its absorbing bassline. It has a sing-a-long factor to it and is very groovy. Aside from its laughable opening, "You Put A Hex On Me" is also an extremely catchy tune. The mournful "Everyone Leaves" is a beautiful ballad which builds up to a powerful ending. The truth is that there is not really a weak track on the album that really brings it down, although occasionally the album can get ever so slightly repetitive.
All in all, however, The Smell of Rain is a great album that will appeal to many different people. Gloomy and atmoshperic, while at the same time infectiously catchy and danceable. It obviously channels bands such as Enigma and Nine Inch Nails; but also acts such as Depeche Mode. Mortiis is certainly an interesting character and this is certainly the most interesting piece of work he has done to date.